This scene is painted on the reverse side of Dürer's Madonna and Child. The story of Lot and his daughters comes from the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Genesis. In the foreground, Lot and his two children are portrayed fleeing from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which erupt in blinding explosions of fire in the background. Lot's wife is visible on the path at the upper left in the middle distance. She has been turned into a pillar of salt for disobeying the divine command by looking back on the scene of retribution.
This scene was important for the moral lesson it taught. Like the story of Noah and the flood, that of Lot and the desolation of Sodom and Gomorrah was an allegory demonstrating the power of God to save the righteous.
Since the combination of the story of Lot with the depiction of the Virgin and Child is extremely unusual, the exact relation of the two images remains unclear. However, they could be understood as two examples of the value of a just life and of the pervasive grace of God, especially if the Madonna and Child on the obverse was intended as a private devotional image.
center left on rock in monogram: AD
Probably a member of the Haller family, Nuremberg. Possibly Paul von Praun [d. 1616] and descendants, Nuremberg, until at least 1778. Charles à Court Repington [d. 1925], Amington Hall, Warwickshire; sold to Mrs. Phyllis Loder, London. (sale, Christie's, London, 29 April 1932, no. 51, as Bellini); (Vaz Dias.) Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza [1875-1947], Villa Favorita, Lugano-Castagnola, by 1934. (Pinakos, Inc. [Rudolf Heinemann] on consignment to M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1950); purchased 1950 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1952 by exchange to NGA.
- Gothic and Renaissance Art in Nuremberg 1300-1550, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, 1986, no. 109 (shown only in New York).
- Albrecht Dürer, Albertina, Vienna, 2003, no. 29, repro.
- Dürer e l'Italia, Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, 2007, no. IV.20, repro.
- Durero y Cranach: Arte y Humanismo en la Alemania del Renacimiento, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 2007-2008, no. 105, repro.
- The Early Dürer, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, 2012, no. 53, repro.
- Buchner, Ernst. "Die Sieben Schmerzen Mariä: eine Tafel aus der Werkstatt des Jungen Dürer." Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst N.F. 11 (1934): 262, 264, 265, 268, 270, figs. 10-11.
- Heinemann, Rudolf. Stiftung Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz. 3 vols. Lugano-Castagnola, 1937: 1:47, no. 127, 2:pl. 31.
- Tietze, Hans, and Erika Tietze-Conrat. Kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke Albrecht Dürers. 3 vols. Basel and Leipzig, 1937: 2:15-16, no. 130b, repro. 173.
- Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Collection Acquired by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation 1945-1951. Introduction by John Walker, text by William E. Suida. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1951: 190 under no. 84, 192, repro. 193.
- Walker, John. "Your National Gallery of Art After 10 Years." National Geographic Magazine 101 no. 1 (January 1952): 74, 94, repro.
- Tietze, Hans. Treasures of the Great National Galleries. New York, 1954: 117.
- Mühlberger, Richard. The Bible in Art: The Old Testament. London, 1956: 209, pl. 36.
- Shapley, Fern Rusk. National Gallery of Art. Smithsonian Institution--Portfolio Number 5: Masterpieces from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Washington, 1956: under no. 5.
- Winkler, Friedrich. Albrecht Dürer--Leben und Werk. Berlin, 1957: 73.
- Stange, Alfred. "Ein Gemälde aus Dürers Wanderzeit?" In Studien zur Kunst des Oberrheins. Festschrift für Werner Noack. Konstanz and Freiburg, 1959: 116.
- Broadley Hugh T. German Painting in the National Gallery of Art (Booklet no. 9 in Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC). Washington, 1960: 22-23, color repro.
- Seymour, Charles. Art Treasures for America: An Anthology of Paintings & Sculpture in the Samuel H. Kress Collection. London, 1961: 80, 83, 210, color fig. 74.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 116, 305.
- Musper, Heinrich Theodor. Albrecht Dürer. Translated by Robert Eric Wolf. New York, : 24, 74, repro. 75.
- European Paintings and Sculpture: Illustrations (Companion to the Summary Catalogue, 1965). Washington, 1968: 38, no. 1099 reverse, repro.
- Zampa, Giorgio and Angela Ottino della Chiesa, L'opera completa di Dürer. Milan, 1968: 95, no. 50b, pl. 10.
- Anzelewsky, Fedja. Albrecht Dürer. Das Malerische Werk. Berlin, 1971: 56-57, 90, 140-142, no. 44, pls. 40, 45, 46, color repro. 3, facing 40. (Rev. ed. 1991: 56-57, 91, 94, 142-144, no. 44, fig. 27, color pl. 42-44.)
- Oehler, Lisa. "Das Dürermonogramm auf Werken der Dürerschule." Städel-Jahrbuch N.F. 4 (1973): 72.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue (National Gallery of Art). Washington, 1975: 116-117, no. 1099 reverse, repro.
- Paltrinieri, Marisa and Franco De Poli. I Geni dell'arte: Dürer. Milan, 1975: 37, 56, 57, 59, 63, repros.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: 150-151, no. 163, repro.
- Mende, Matthias. Albrecht Dürer: Das Frühwerk bis 1500. Herrsching, 1976: 69, fig. 31
- Strieder, Peter. Dürer. Milan, 1976: 42-45, 180, no. 12, repros.
- Southgate, M. Therese. "Albrecht Dürer: Lot and His Daughters.'" Journal of the American Medical Association 240, no. 12 (15 September 1978): cover, 2, color repro.
- Sutton, Denys. "Robert Langton Douglas. Part IV." Apollo 110 (July 1979): 13 , 18 , fig. 30.
- Anzelewsky, Fedja. Dürer--vie et oeuvre. Translated by Monique Fuchs. Fribourg, 1980: 74, 88-89, color fig. 71.
- Strieder, Peter. Albrecht Dürer. Paintings. Prints. Drawings. Translated from German by Nancy M. Gordon and Walter L. Strauss. New York, 1982: 316, 318, fig. 417.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 148-149, no. 154, color repro.
- Mulazzani, Germano. "Raphael and Venice: Giovanni Bellini, Dürer, and Bosch." In James Beck, ed. Raphael Before Rome. Studies in the History of Art 17 (1986): 151, fig. 4.
- Ezendam, Yolanda. Dürer. Translated by Mauro Liloni. Milan, 1993: fig. 20.
- Davies, Philip R. "Abraham & Yahweh: A Case of Male Bonding." Bible Review 11, no. 4 (August 1995): 28-29, color repro.
- Löcher, Kurt. Review of German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries, by John Oliver Hand with the assistance of Sally E. Mansfield. Kunstchronik 43 no. 1 (January 1995): 15.
- Southgate, M. Therese. The Art of JAMA: One Hundred Covers and Essays from The Journal of the American Medical Association. St. Louis, 1997: 58-59, color repro.
- Dunkerton, Jill. "North and South: Painting Techniques in Venice." In Renaissance Venice and the North: Crosscurrents in the Time of Bellini, Dürer and Titian. Exh. cat. Palazzo Grassi, 1999. Venice, 1999: 101.
- Mende, Matthias. "Dürer, Albrecht." In Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon: Die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker. Munich and Leipzig, 1992-[unfinished] [vols.] Munich and Leipzig, 2001: 30:301.
- Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: v, 76-77, 142-143, no. 111, color repros.
- Wolf, Norbert. Dürer. Munich, 2010: 238, no. 14, repro.
- Delaney, John K., E. Melanie Gifford, Lisha D. Glinsman, John Oliver Hand, and Catherine Metzger. "Common Painting and Diligent Fiddling: Technical Analysis for Insight into the Divergent Styles of Dürer's 'Madonna and Child'/'Lot and his Daughters'. In The Challenge of the Object / Die Herausforderung des Objekts. 33rd Congress of the International Committee of the History of Art. Nuremberg, 2013: 1036-1040, fig. 2.
Lot and His Daughters is quite different from the obverse in both its manner of execution and state of preservation. A ground or preparation layer is either not present or not readily discernible; it is possible that there is a layer of glue or glue with a very small admixture of calcium carbonate that has become transparent. There is no underdrawing visible either to the naked eye or under infrared reflectography. The monogram rendered in brown paint is not visible under infrared reflectography, whereas the dark lines defining the surrounding rock formations are visible, indicating the presence of black pigment in the latter. If the monogram were very recent, it is likely that it would be made visible with infrared reflectography. Numerous small losses are scattered throughout and reflect worm damage, abrasion, impacts to the surface, and flaking due to movement of the unprimed wood. The joins of the panel have opened in the past and have visible inpainting.